The Ennis native, resident in Hong Kong for the past five years, flew into Shanghai on Saturday morning to partake in the challenge game serving as a preamble to the main event. Hurling aside, Barry was intent on shaking the hands of those responsible for ending the county’s 16-year wait for All-Ireland honours.
Not in his wildest dreams, however, could he have envisaged earning a late call-up to the top billing, featuring in a full-forward line alongside Joe Canning and John Mullane, pilfering three goals past Nicky Quaid in their 2012 All Stars’ 10-4 to 6-13 win over the 2013 crew and, just for good measure, picking up the man of the match accolade.
“To have Canning and Mullane beside me, I never dreamt I would play on the same field as those boys, never mind be in the same full-forward line as them,” chuckled Barry, nephew to Peter Barry, a mainstay on the Clare hurling team during the ’80s.
“It is something to be hugely proud of. I loved it. It was an excellent experience. We played the exhibition game beforehand and because there was a couple of injuries on the All Stars team they asked six of us to fill in in the second-half and we were only delighted to do so.
“I was in Hong Kong watching the two All-Ireland hurling finals, watching the likes of Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin. It would have been great just to watch them first hand here today and then have a couple of pints with them. To be on the pitch with them was unreal. Getting a pass from Eoin Larkin for a goal is incredible.”
Depleted numbers meant the first-half was a 13-a-side affair with Conor Lehane clipping over four points for the 2013 selection and added to a John Conlon goal. Pat Daly’s men, standing in for the absent Davy Fitzgerald, enjoyed a 1-9 to 2-4 interval advantage — Joe Canning and Eoin Larkin supplying early majors for the 2012 outfit. The gap would have been far greater was it not for the goalkeeping heroics of Galway’s David Burke, lining out between the sticks in place of the injured Anthony Nash.
Cody’s team upped the ante at the change of ends and a barrage of goals — eight in total — turned proceedings on their head.
Barry, who also serves as chairman of the GAA set-up in Hong Kong, finished superbly following an incisive Eoin Larkin offload. The Kilkenny forward was provider turned scorer in the subsequent action, with John Mullane grabbing their third major on the bounce.
Pa Horgan and Bonner Maher traded green flags and although the 2013 selection would rattle David Burke’s net on five further occasions in the closing quarter, including one from the stick of former Offaly hurler Gary Hanniffy, living in Singapore for the past 18 months, it would prove insufficient in reigning their 2012 counterparts, propelled to victory by late goal strikes courtesy of Barry (two), Mullane and Maher.
2012 All Stars: D Burke (Galway); JJ Delaney (Kilkenny), P Murphy (Kilkenny); B Bugler (Clare), B Hogan (Kilkenny), M Cahill (Tipperary); I Tannian (Galway, 0-1), D Collins (Galway); P Maher (Tipperary, 2-1, 0-1 free), C Donnellan (Galway, 0-1), E Larkin (Kilkenny, 2-0); J Mullane (Waterford, 2-0), J Canning (Galway, 1-1).
Subs: M Barry (Hong Kong, 3-0) (HT), D McGeeney (Shanghai, HT), S Lillis for McGeeney (Shanghai, 45).
2013 All Stars: N Quaid (Limerick); R McCarthy (Limerick), P Kelly (Dublin); K Joyce (Kilkenny, 0-1free), L Rushe (Dublin), P Donnellan (Clare); D McInerney (Clare, 0-2), T Kelly (Clare, 2-1); C Galvin (Clare, 0-1), C Lehane (Cork, 1-5), P Browne (Limerick, 0-1); P Horgan (Cork, 1-1, 1-0 free), J Conlon (Clare, 1-0).
Subs: G Hanniffy (Singapore, 1-1), J Troland (Shanghai), A Foley for J Trolan (Shanghai, 45).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).